Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, announced on October 7, that it will acquire Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) from Anheuser-Busch InBev.
BEC operates 10 parks in the US and draws approximately 25 million visitors. The parks include SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Sesame Place, Adventure Island and Water Country USA.
The Blackstone Group is no stranger to the amusement park industry. They owned a portion of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation back in the early nineties and currently own 50% of Universal Studios Florida. Blackstone also own all of Merlin Entertainment, the British amusement park operator which in turn partially owns the four Legoland parks and Chessington's World of Adventures. Merlin operates, but does not own Alton Towers and Thorpe Park.
Blackstone is expected to retain Busch Entertainment's management and operate the company as a standalone investment.
For more information a message from Jim Atchison, the president of Busch Entertainment Corporation in on the Worlds of Discovery website and the press release from AB InBev is available online.